Wall Street Journal Asia, March 13, 2009
The nationalist frenzy arrived quickly. As soon as Chinese art collector Cai Mingchao refused to pay for two bronze sculptures for which he had successfully bid $40 million at a Christie’s auction, China’s newspapers, Internet chat rooms and blogs rushed to crown him the country’s new national hero. In the view of numerous Chinese citizens, including Mr. Cai, the artworks were looted from China by European powers in the 19th century and should be returned to China, for free. The Chinese government agrees.